Peak(s):  Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Date Posted:  07/29/2011
Date Climbed:   07/28/2011
Author:  yogi

 My first 14er  

This was my first hike up a 14er, so I was both thrilled and a bit apprehensive at the same time. I left from Denver ~6:45am via 285 and drove up to the Guanella pass through Grant to avoid traffic delays due to construction on the I-70 route. I reached the parking lot at 8:45am and it was packed. The weather was prisitine and so I began my climb. Image

The first mile of the trek was a breeze. The trail was in very good condition and the wooden structures helped avoid any marshy patches on the trail. I was able to cross the stream flowing from the Gomer creek without any issues and so I marched forward.

The first signs of fatigue hit me ~12500' and I had to make frequent stops from then on to catch my breath. I had also severly underestimated my water needs (this being my first major hike) and so was beginning to get worried . There were a lot of people up on the trail ahead of me and quite a few were also coming down by this time. Image

I had also realised by now that coming solo on the first 14er climb wasnt a good idea and so decided to tag along with a group of 4 who were also going up. More so to just strike some conversation and to keep spirits up.

Things really got worse by 13300' where the trail gets quite steep. I was almost out of water and thoughts of quitting really began to set in primarily due to physical exhaustion. This daunting look of the summit made matters even worse. Image

One of the group members was kind enough to give me some extra water he was carrying. This helped me rehydrate myself and mentally I was not willing to give up. So, I took a 5min stopover, regrouped myself and started up again. Things began to brighten up as I got near the ridge at 13800'. Whether it was the closeness to the summit or that I was still standing at the ridge after almost giving up 500' below, the physical exhaustion seemed gone now. Thankfully, I was not affected by altitude sickness and was in great spirits at this point. Image

From then on, it was a climb up the boulders and soon enough I found myself at the summit smiling uncontrollably. I reached the summit at 12:30pm, a 3:30hr climb puncutated by many stops along the way to catch breath. The view from the summit was absolutely gorgeous and I could see the sawtooth, Mt. Evans and the Grays, Torreys peaks quite well. Image

I spent around half an hr at the summit. The climb down was harder than I thought, but was largely uneventful and I finally made it down to the parking lot at 3pm. It had started raining by the time I was down near the creek.

Overall, this was an awesome experience for me and I couldnt have been more happier with the climb and the excellent quality of the trail itself.

Lessons learnt: Never do your first 14er on your own, bring along abudant water supplies, its not a race to the top so find your own pace and stop along the way if needed.

Hope this report is helpful to future first timers.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

07/29/2011 18:34
Congratulations on your first 14er!


good job
07/29/2011 22:23
you look like you had great fun... for some reason it always rains around bierstadt and evans... question is when is your next one?


I like this TR.
07/30/2011 01:05
Through the eyes of a new hiker! Keep going.


Nice Start!
07/30/2011 02:18
You gotta start somewhere and Bierstadt is a great first ascent. From the smiles on your face it is clear you had a great time. Good luck with your future trips!


Way to go.
07/30/2011 03:23
Good job on your first 14er! I know that feeling of apprehension as I also felt that way before I got my 1st, Mt. Elbert. But what a great feeling it is when you reach that 1st summit!

Eagle eye 1

Learn from experience
07/30/2011 04:15
Now you know what it's all about. Never take a mountain for granted, thinking they are easy. Congratulations on your first of many 14er summits.

James Scott

nice work
07/30/2011 15:08
I like how happy you look along the way- like you're not just forcing yourself to the top for the accomplishment, but you're really happy to be there! Nice report!


excellent job
08/01/2011 17:07
You realize quickly there is nothing ”easy” above 12,500 feet. That's where I start to really feel the altitude as well. Nice work and very thoughtful reflections.


Nice job!
08/02/2011 01:35
It's a learning experience getting into it. Everyone goes through it. You never stop learning. Congrats on your 1rst 14'er. Keep getting after it! It's all uphill from here 8)


08/02/2011 03:59
Thanks guys for all the encouragement. Looking forward to tackle Grays in 4 weeks on my next trip to Denver

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